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Three Generations of Comparative Sociologies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2011

Saïd Amir Arjomand
Affiliation:
Stony Brook University [sarjoman@notes.cc.sunysb.edu].
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Abstract

Surveying three generations of comparative sociologists, separated by abrupt discontinuities, the study reaches the conclusion that the original promise of comparative sociology set in motion a century ago remains largely unfulfilled. It will then be argued that the work of the third generation of comparative sociologists on civilizational analysis and multiple modernities can redeem the promise of comparative sociology by rectifying the neglect of developmental patterns in other civilizations and recovering the fundamental relevance of the periphery. The third generation is thus seeking to undo the erasure of the historical experience of a very sizeable portion of humankind from the foundation of social theory. This argument is illustrated by selective reference to the concept of the nation-state, and comparisons of civilizational processes and developmental patterns that stem from different religions and traditions and generate varieties of nationalism, alternative modernities and patterns of secularization.

Résumé

Passant en revue trois générations de sociologie comparative, l’auteur arrive à la conclusion que le programme formé il y a un siècle est encore loin d’être réalisé. Les travaux de la troisième génération, analyse des civilisations, modernités multiples, réparent cet oubli des processus de développement dans les civilisations autres qu’occidentales et retrouvent l’importance fondamentale de la périphérie. Ce faisant, ils s’emploient à réintroduire l’expérience historique d’une partie importante de l’humanité complètement mise à l’écart par la théorie sociologique depuis ses débuts. L’argument s’appuie sur un choix de références à des concepts tels que l’état-nation, à des comparaisons de processus de civilisation et de modèles de développement tirés de religions et de traditions diverses. Variétés des nationalismes, modernités alternatives et figures de sécularisation.

Zusammenfassung

Drei Generationen komparativ-arbeitender Soziologen haben das vor einem Jahrhundert aufgestellte Programm noch lange nicht ausgeschöpft. Durch die Arbeiten der dritten Generation – Studien über die ins Vergessen geratenen Entwicklungsprozesse nichtwestlicher Kulturen und die fundamentale Bedeutung der Peripherie – werden die Versäumnisse der komparativen Soziologie ausgeglichen, die seit ihrer Gründung den historischen Erfahrungsschatz eines Großteils der Menschheit ausgeschlossen hat. Belegt wird dies anhand einer Auswahl von Nationalstaaten und der Gegenüberstellung verschiedener Kulturprozesse und Entwicklungsmodelle, denen unterschiedlichen Religionen und Traditionen zu Grunde liegen und die zu einer weiten Palette von Nationalismen, alternativen Modernitäten und Säkularisationsformen geführt haben.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © A.E.S. 2010

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